Shifter By Mark Wildyr (review)

Tagline: The young native, his best bud, the enchanted isle, and trans-formative magic witch unleashes true desires with plenty of sizzle

Shifter Book Cover Image

Title: Shifter
Author: Mark Wildyr
Genre:  Paranormal M/M Erotica
Format:  Short Story (5k words, 19 pages)

Series: Walk on Wild Side

Publisher: Dreamspinner (June 2016)

ISBN: 978-1-63477-508-3

Retail: $1.99

Also available:  Walk on Wild Side Anthology

Rating:   star star star star   (I really liked it!)

Dreamspinner’s 2016 Daily Dose anthology includes 30 romantic male/male shifter stories released one a day during the month of June.


Synopsis:  Recently come of age, Gray Fox paddles across the lakes to visit his long-time but separated friend.  A spirit on an enchanted isle has ideas on how the young man should enter adulthood, perhaps giving the canoeist a story to share upon their reunion.

Review:  This erotic story might not be typical m/m romance, or necessarily appealing to those looking for more romantic, relationship focused stories, or typical shifters.  This rather atypical shifter really worked for me, and the combination of a coming of age/”first-time” sizzle with just enough of an interesting story and relationship really worked for me.

In short, the native/indingenous setting was a nice frame for a rather sizzling short tale, invoking some nice “shifting” magic to turn up the heat.  A budding attraction between two recently come of age young men was a light but appreciated touch to round out the “first time” vibe.  This alternate shifter might not work for some readers of m/m romance, but I really liked the weave of sizzle, magic, a trans-formation, and a bit of young love (or at least lust).

Recommended for fans of:  Nicely sexual native/indigenous/First People spirituality and shifting; those who don’t mind a bit of a feminine touch in their m/m romance;  sexy witch stories.

Sizzle:
Explicit Heat: fire fire fire  –  The focus of this read was the explicit heat which, for some readers, might be a tad different than typical m/m romance encounters.
Passion: heart  heart   – Clearly some atraction between the two friends, but the physical heat seemed more important.
Genre:  Erotica


Other Comments (with spoilers):
I personally loved the gender fluid aspect of the story, a bit of a trans-forming witchcraft made the “witch” character an intriguing place to me (and I personally am not squicked by female sexuality mixed in with my m/m romance).
Also, two “straight” young men overcoming their prejudice and enjoying what they have likely longed for.
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Spiked and Feathered by Jessica Walsh (review)

Tagline: Stressed call center boy hits a new bar leading to sizzling and feathered stress-relieving experiences

spiked-and-feathered

Title: Spiked and Feathered 
Genre:  Paranormal M/M Romance
Format:  Short Story (7k words, 21 pages)

Series: Walk on Wild Side

Publisher: Dreamspinner (June 2016)

ISBN: 978-1-63477-506-9

Retail:  $1.99

Also available:  Walk on Wild Side Anthology

Rating:   star star half-star (2.75 stars – I liked it ok.)

Dreamspinner’s 2016 Daily Dose anthology includes 30 romantic male/male shifter stories released one a day during the month of June.


Synopsis: After a particularly bad day on the phones,  Anthony hits a strange bar to unwind a bit, and hits it hard. The results include a hint of just what kind of bar it is and just what kind of trip that kind of establishment can deliver, but the evening in the bar was just the beginning.  Waking up within sweet shits and a hint of feathers takes Anthony to another level of “escape” from work.

Review: While this is another story that is not overly compelling, it was certainly an enjoyable trip.  Anthony was very sympathetic, the grind at the end of the day all too real and his attempt to escape and unwind (and overindulge) read well – nicely evocative of the “bad day at a bad job” blues.  After an empathetic set up, the journey turns plenty wilder and hotter, with trip into typical/sexy and a bit more fantastic fantasy spiced with sizzle and a bit of imagination.

Recommended for fans of: quick, heated escapes at the end of a long day; bird shifters; frustrated workers looking for some (a bit sizzling) relief.

Sizzle:
Explicit Heat: fire fire fire – For a short story, there were a couple of heated and explicitly enticing exchanges.
Passion: heart  heart  heart   – The chemistry was physical but the lust and excitment seemed true.
Genre:  Adult Romance


Other Comments:
I am very much enjoying the emergence of openly (and usually non-chalantly) bisexual main characters.

Mane and Tail by Sean Michael (review)

Tagline: Unsatisfied executive meets otherworldly man who says he can fulfill his secret wish to be kept as a pony – for a supernatural price

Mane and Tail Book Cover

Title: Mane and Tail
Author: Sean Michael

Genre:  Gay Erotica (pony play – D/s)
Format:  Novella (32k words)
Series: Modifications #1

SitesGoodreads | Amazon

Publisher: Self-Published (June 2016)
ISBN: 9781988377117

Retail: $3.99

Rating:   star1 star1 star1 star1 half-star  (4.5 stars – I really liked/loved it!)

Synopsis: Eric Martin is an executive who is missing something in life.  When he meets a rather forward and somewhat strange man named Daryus, he is unable to stop thinking about the stranger’s promise to make his fantasies come true.  At their second meeting, Daryus leads him to a world of stables and to Soren, a trainer of pony pets.  Eric’s deepest and darkest secrets are laid bare at the talented hands of the master groom. Soren’s skillful hand tries to force the executive to face his desired fantasy and attempts to bind him to his wanted and wanton fate.  In the end, will he be willing to pay the price to truly live his in his true nature?

Review: The author frames a somewhat intriguing but also very erotic story of a master groom attempting to guide a man (who is accustomed to being in charge) through a descent into a fully trained pony/servant mindset. The pony training is framed with a brief and nicely whimsical but also potentially dark supernatural theme.

The core of the book is a relatively gentle but firm pressure on a needy, unhappy executive to look at his more secret fantasy – serving as a fully trained and cared for pony by a strong but attentive master. The somewhat forced training highlights a very Dominant/submissive theme. It is explored here with less outright pain and force than I have found in many romance or erotica with a BDSM or D/s label. In many ways this approach seems much more realistic (and true to my own experiences) than more typical harsh, painful, and/or brutally controlling domination found in much BDSM-D/s fiction/erotica. The author includes a well-written, step-by-step journey (with just enough emotion and motivation) through the mechanics of becoming a trained pony, from light currying to fully functional, well-attached reins and finally to the ultimate in tail and cart play.

Much of the story, especially the personal reactions through the heart of the training, are viewed through the groom’s eyes, one who is fervently dedicated to mastering, dominating, loving and transforming his pony. One small critique may be that the reactions from the submitting, bound man are increasingly described in physical (and at times very heated) terms rather than through his thoughts and emotions – but in some ways that just reinforces the potential pony’s ultimate choice of whether to be reactive pet in the hand’s of a master groom more than an active instigator in his own right.

In the end, the ultimate questions are asked, with a delightfully devilish touch to complete the story

Recommended for fans of:  pony play; slow and patient but firm journeys into submission to a Dominant; pet play; BDSM -D/s with gentle but firm domination.

Sizzle:
Heat: fire fire fire fire fire – Fully sizzling D/s erotica, with explicit step-by-step assertions of control and submission, not too harsh but nicely firm heated encounters.
Passion: heart heart  heart  – Extremely strong on the Groom’s side with a bit less exposition but more implied from reactions and actions on the pony’s side.
Genre:  Erotica


Other Comments and More Personal Reactions (including spoilers):
I started posting on this blog to feel more free to include rather personal reactions to stories, and this one evoked such pleasant memories I am taking advantage of the personal space to react more, well, personally.

 

The author includes a well-written, step-by-step journey through the mechanics of becoming a pet pony.  The progression and range struck me as right, slowly moving into more and more serious submission, moving from light currying to fully functional, well-attached reins and finally to the ultimate in tail and cart play.  Kinks explored included currying (which made me purr), binding, blinders, hand feeding, piercings, reins, cuffs/mitts (the feel of lambskin – oh yes!), dressage and cart runs, spanking, stocks, and even a touch of light whipping (if only there were a riding crop…).

 

Favorite Quotes (spoilers) with personal reactions:

 

“Please help me.” This world was so wrong.
“I am, Petyr. I am. You need to give everything up to me and trust I’ll take care of you,” Soren said softly, voice so gentle.
Life didn’t work that way, though. Nothing worked that way.
(Fortunately, it sometimes does!)

 

Some trainers use constant pain, but that’s not me.”
(Nice to see a range in kinky, D/s stories)

 

He did the wrist restraints first, knowing those were easier mentally for his pony. He slid the lambskin-lined leather around each wrist and tightened the straps.  (Makes me whimper from a wonderful flesh memory)

 

He put the reins over Petyr’s shoulder, then dragged them along his pony’s skin so Petyr could know what it felt like. Then he attached the clasp of the reins to Petyr’s right nipple, then his left, letting the leather hang down and pull against Petyr’s them. Petyr’s chest moved, his pony beginning to pant for him, obviously a bit worried.  (But it’s the most delicious kind of worry!)

 

 As he kissed, he reached behind Petyr and gently tugged the reins, letting his pony feel them. Petyr jerked, his whole body bucking. The only reason Petyr didn’t pull completely away was because he was bound in the stocks. (And the feel of that kind of binding on one’s limbs and actions just drives the senses into overload.)

Alpaca Lies by Elizabeth Coldwell (review)

Tagline: Concerned (and horny) alpaca shifter cares for and lusts after estate heir on his birthday…

Book Cover Image

Title: Alpaca Lies 
Genre:  Paranormal M/M Shifter Erotica
Format:  Short Story (7k words, 23 pages)

Series: Walk on Wild Side

Book Sites: AuthorPublisherGoodreads
Publisher: Dreamspinner (June 2016)

ISBN: 978-1-63477-499-4

Also available:  Walk on Wild Side Anthology

Rating:   star  star  half-star (2.5 stars -It was o.k.)

Dreamspinner’s 2016 Daily Dose anthology includes 30 romantic male/male shifter stories released one a day during the month of June.


Synopsis: Alfie has spent his entire life as an Alpaca in a petting zoo on an English manor, with a soft spot in his heart (and a bit of lust in his dreams) for Simon, the estate’s heir.  As Simon’s 21st birthday part approaches and the heir’s boyfriend may become more, the Alpaca shifter watches with sadness and apprehension.  When events conspire to put all in danger, Alfie needs to finally shift into his human form, possibly exposing himself to his friend and the man he wants to be near.

Review: Although there is a bit of a story in this brief read, to me the focus was very much on the explicit coupling.  The author did create a rather unique and interesting shifter set-up, and a quick exploration of a “boyfriend just being used” setting.   Perhaps because of the very quick nature of such a short story, these interesting ideas were not overly compelling to me, as the shifter’s inner dialog and the heir’s family and relationship conflicts did not engage me as a reader too terribly much. The idea of a shifter “in hiding” in a zoo who had never shifted before is extremely enticing, but the build-up and action was so quick this brief work only hints at the potential of such as plot line. Overall, the story did set up a bit of a nice snog and a shag.

Recommended for fans of: shifter sex; alpacas; comfort after being dumped by a douche.

Sizzle:
Passion: heart  – The alpaca lusted over the heir for years, and his concern was sweet.
Explicit Heat: fire  fire  fire – Focus and strength of the story to me was the coupling
Genre:  Erotica  (mostly because while the story ideas were interesting, they were too quick to be compelling to me on their own)

BAMF by SJD Peterson (review)

Tagline: Tattooed, pierced protector finds the library assistant to be more than mild-mannered 

BAMF Book Cover

Title: BAMF
Author: S. J. D. Peterson

Genre:  Romantic Erotica
Format:  Novel (200 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner (July 2014)
ISBN: 9781627989039

Bonus: Also in an anthology

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Audience: For those who like it really rough under that bookish exterior

Bullied as a kid, Ridley now fancies himself a fierce protector,  his faux-hawk, piercings, and tattoos help provide a “don’t mess with me” vibe to would be tormentors.  After yearning after the library assistant Alex, he steps in to protect the “mild mannered” book boy from the campus football jock bully, and a connection develops with his cute crush. From a quiet beginning in a campus library, the story moves to an extremely heated and rough encounter, followed both by wild violence and violently wild bedroom heat.

Overall the story encounters and the physical passion were very much on the rigorous (and pleasingly painful) side.  As the publisher’s description indicates, the setting moves from the quiet of academia to much more rough and tumble themes that should tempt and please fans of strong and (heavenly) harsh but passionate men. The plot was intriguing enough for me, but the intimate sizzle was intensely heavy enough to just barely push this into my “Romantic Erotica” category (rather than “Adult Romance”).  Still, readers who don’t mind their sizzling scenes to be rather rough and tumble can also enjoy a story of a sometimes halting and halted (but sometimes scorching) relationship, too.

And as an aside to all those who only see the mild manners in their friendly, local librarians,  I know plenty of them have a tougher, wicked side, just like Alex. 😉

“That’s it,” Alex hissed. “Fuck yourself on my cock. Show me what a little slut you are.”

Initially published separately, BAMF is also available in the Dreamspinner Press Year Eight Greatest Hits anthology.

Covetous by Pearl Love (review)

Tagline: Pissed off ex-lover asked what he would give to get his desires

7&7 Anthology Book Cover

Vice #4: Envy
Title: Covetous
Author: Pearl Love

Genre:   Horror / Torture Erotica
Format:  Short Story (26 pages)
Series: 7&7 Anthology

Publisher: DSP Publications (May 2016)

Bonus:   Free on publisher’s site

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

DSP Publication’s anthology covers 7 virtues and 7 vices, and the theme of Pearl Love’s short story is the vice of envy.

Passed over for promotion by his ex-boyfriend, Jonathon is pissed off and upset about his lack of upward mobility, envious of those with more success.  Seeking solace in drink, dancing, and men, he pushes aside his pain and decides to indulge some wanton desires in the midst of his depression.  Finding himself in the middle of what he yearns for, he has to say what he is willing to give up to receive all he covets.

Overall, Jonathon really did not convey particularly excessive envy to me.  Yes, he seems to want higher status and possesses the drive for “more” then most and he clearly casts a yearning eye at the finer things earned by those around him.  But his relatively common level of greed catches the eye of terrific evil that sets out to lure, seduce, seize and torture him.  The increasingly brutal scenes are extremely graphic and horrific.  I don’t mind the explicit pain, but as a consequence of the “evil”of his greed, it seemed way over the top.

Fans of bloody, horrific torture kink will probably be the most appreciative of this story.

Lost and Found by Willa Okati (review)

Tagline: Sweet Alpha/Omega Shifter Mpreg Smut
Book Cover
TitleLost and Found
Author: Willa Okati

Genre:  Erotica (omegaverse)
Format:  Short Story (15k words)
Series: Omega Wolves Series #1

Publisher: Changeling Press (2016)
ISBN: 0759302448

Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)

Summary: Works as a (sweetly romantic) erotic mpreg wolf shifter short

After being exiled for his pack for loving the Packmaster’s son, Alpha wolf shifter Matthias returns only to find his love Bree shunned when his Omega nature is evident.  Young, true love is lost but found again in the cold of the winter snow and the overwhelming mating heat.  Overall, while the underlying plot was sweet, the writing and the story were not very compelling. Fans of explicit Alpha/Omega wolf shifter attraction, lust and love and their overwhelming drive to connect during the mating heat may find this to be a sizzling albeit short read.  While placed in a werewolf setting, the steam includes favorite themes of omegaverse enthusiasts such as male pregnancy (mpreg) and knotting.

Five Golden Beads by Sean Michael (review)

Five Golden Book Cover

Title: Five Golden Beads
Author: Sean Michael
Genre:  Male/Male Holiday Erotica
Format:  Short Story (31 pages)
Sites: Author | Publisher Goodreads | Amazon
Format:  Short Story (31 pages)
Series: Reindeer Games
ASIN: B019EKTSKO

Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

Tagline:  Christmas BDSM elf tops eager human

A brief, heated, and nicely Christmas-themed piece of male/male kinky erotica, this short story provides a quick and sizzling holiday escape into elven debauchery.  Harper is an inventive and playful top/Dom, providing a nice range of holiday-themed kinky BDSM gifts (including the titles’ “five golden beads” for some rear-passage pleasure). There is a tiny bit of a story which simply puts a little seasonal flare and a bit of a hopeful yearning into smutty, kinky bondage play.  Shay’s human sweetness sizzles and swirls in and around his submission and lust for his Elven partner.

I received a free copy of this work from a giveaway from the author’s blog